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I need to monitor network traffic and EtherApe seems to be nice graphical utility. But the Wikipedia entry says sth like this :

Security: EtherApe requires root privileges to run. As such, there can be risks to the machine(s) running EtherApe when connected to the internet.

I am not getting this , we need to be connected to internet to monitor it, we do not need it at all if we are offline , don't we ?

If there is security risk what it could be and how to use it properly ?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The security risk is that if someone hacks you and manages to shell it, they will have a root shell. Unfortunately, this is the case with quite a lot of things.

There isn't really a way to definitively protect against this, but a reverse proxy might be a good start, as well as keeping up with patches. Additionally, use a dedicated server or VM for this which has no other function, and keep it firewalled off (in a DMZ) from everything it doesn't need access to.

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VM seems reasonable ,thanks – sakhunzai Sep 14 '13 at 7:17

It doesn't need to run as root, it just needs to be able to perform some network-related tasks that exceed the usual user permissions. Just use the linux capabilites to only confer these permissions without giving superuser rights:

sudo setcap 'CAP_NET_RAW+eip CAP_NET_ADMIN+eip' /usr/bin/etherape

Of course its still a slight risk to allow users to monitor all network traffic, but then that is what you are asking for.

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thanks @vbraun , that is excellent suggestion – sakhunzai Sep 16 '13 at 6:23

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